Friday, 18 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Take a Chance on Me

What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell!


No this is not a photo of my brain showing its complexities, turns and angles of decisions and thoughts, it is a view of part of the staircase in our apartment block. I walk pass the metal joints many times during the day and on one of my excursions to my washing room in the cellar in the evening I took my super DSLR camera and made a photo, again hoping for a Pulitzer photo prize: another disappointment in my life. The chance I took here was actually being able to take the photo without stumbling on the stairs and breaking a leg.

Life is full of risks, especially if you are me and blog. They just hit you out of the blue. Everything seems to be taking its normal path, nicely going along at the golden oldie pace of time and then, bang!!! This week there were a few bangs. I had an emergency trip to the doctors last week, thinking I was on my last legs and it was just a normal little stress situation. It seems I had been overdoing it lately, like visiting Dad in England, getting him settled in his new home, buying him a micro wave and settee and a general upheaval in my nice little daily routine. I have now recovered after finding room in my tablet taking plan to fit a couple more in and it seems to have worked.

Just as things were evening out and I was back in the old routine it happened again, but this time it was a crash bang. My daily prompt did not arrive in the usual place  and the usual time, although this was completely my own fault. I did not understand the new great look that the WordPress people have given us. After a few words of dispute and some remarks, this misunderstanding was ironed out and I have again found my little nook and cranny in this wonder world of blog. It was my own fault for being so obstinate. I should have shown more understanding for the situation. The good old familiar looking prompts are still there, a sort of déja vu thing with the titles, but with my daredevil way of dealing with the unexpected, I have survived and am still here. I have decided to take it easy and swallow it all, come what may. After all I am paying for this blog, the price of being a .com person and hoping for a little mention in the Pulitzer Hall of Fame.

My first risk seems was being born. Mum was so surprised and shocked that she immediately decided she would not do a repeat experiment. I remained the one and only, growing up all on my own, no brothers or sisters to play with, just a budgerigar called Bill that arrived a few years later. He was not the best conversationalist, his vocabulary mainly consisting of the words “Pretty Bill”. He was a very conceited budgerigar, but he was all I had. He would spend hours looking into a mirror pecking at his reflection, admiring his yellow-green feathers and repeating the only budgie words in his language “Pretty Bill”.

Perhaps moving to Switzerland at the age of twenty could be looked upon as taking a chance, although I found it to be more a change of scenery, language and doing my own thing. Yes, this budgerigar person flew the nest and was on her own making her own decisions and not having to do what the others wanted or expected. We all learn by our mistakes and I made a few, but am not going to indulge in regrets or tell you about them. Je ne regrette rien, and if I told you about them 50 shades of something would have looked like a choirboy in comparison. Perhaps I should not have begun the daily prompt. It grows on you like an ivy, entwining its leaves into the very nucleus of your computer and you almost become addicted.

Today is Good Friday, although I have not yet found anything good about it. I had spent most of the week shopping and organising life as the shops are now closed until next Tuesday, with the exception of Saturday. Saturday is the day when Mr. Swiss is let out to do the shopping and who am I to interfere? The cupboard and fridge are now full. This morning I was recovering from the pre-Easter stress and am glad to say that no-one has invited me anywhere, I have not invited anyone to lunch or dinner and I am looking forward to an Easter hibernation until next Tuesday. For those that have something planned for Easter, happy Easter, and for the others, take it easy. And now to perform the one and only Pingback that remains, MINE.

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Junk Food Junkie

What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty, glory.

A speciality of the Spreewald in Germany

A glass of pickled cucumber: they have many names. One of the ingredients in a “Mac” – you know those delicious buns filled with flat pressed meat patties, sold in MacDonalds: the king of junk and fast food. Have you ever looked behind the scenes, especially in summer when the weather tends to be warm and inviting for various flying objects? No? Then I would not if I was you. You will find a pool of vinegar with these delicious green cucumbers swimming in it, if you can see behind the cloud of flies that it attracts. Still want to order a Big Mac? Of course, what the eye does not see is not a problem.

The pickled cucumbers shown on the picture are something very special. They are the pickled cucumbers from the area of the Spree woods in the Eastern part of Germany and in the old DDR days of Germany, they were still a well known product of the area. The Spree woods is a region with many rivers and an ideal place for the growing and production of these pickled cucumbers. When I was a working lady, exporting goods all over the world, I had contacts in this part of Germany. After the reunion of East and West Germany one of my contacts always brought me a glass from the area.

But now back to the junky bit. Does a golden oldie like me really eat all this junk stuff? Not really, but if I was starving and my only rescue would be in the Macdonalds, KFC washed down with a cup of Starbucks, then I would eat it/drink it because I would have no choice. My problem is that I like to know what is actually contained in the food I eat, and for this reason I am mainly a do-it-yourself cook.

I have never eaten a chicken nugget, I like my chicken with legs and wings and seeing all the bits and pieces of the body. I could make a chicken nugget myself. Some time ago I watched a video about how these chicken nuggets are made. If this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth then I am glad I have never subjected my digestive organs to this food wonder. Do they use the breast of chicken? Of course not, far too expensive. Perhaps the meat from the limbs – forget it. We are left with the body so we are nearly there. Now imagine a skeleton, just the bare bones. Luckily chicken bones are on the softer side, so easily mashed in a suitable chopping machine. You are left with a sort of pink sloshy substance. Just add some flavour and a few artificial ingredients to stabilise the whole thing. Form the remaining mass into nugget shapes, coat it with bread crumbs (although I am not really sure if it is actually bread) and you have your nugget. Just cook it and eat it, yummy.

I like cooking. I sometimes lull myself to sleep thinking about what I will be cooking the next day for lunch. The problem might be that Mr. Swiss and I have differing ideas about what we like. I like to do something different now and again, this might or might not work. I am still not sure about this week. We both decided to have a rice day, we both like rice. I might do an asparagus risotto, rice with tomato and courgette, or even a colonial rice, you know with curry powder, fruit and some chopped chicken for good measure: all smothered in whipped cream.

I decided to do something completely different, inspired by an episode of the TV programme “Master Chef”. The main ingredient was chick pea, I like chick peas: a remainder from my Indian cooking days (I lived almost two years with an Indian/Swiss family). Chick peas need a spicy background and the cook on TV was sprinkling the chilli powder all over it very generously, so I though what he does I can as well. I have a special mixture in the garam masala style (every Indian housewife has her own spice mixture) and so I decided this would be it. I also mixed some spring oinions and chopped tomato and eventually dinner was served. Mr. Swiss found it quite spicy, quite hot, but after the first try he decided his taste buds had been fired up to such an extent that he no longer noticed that the food was on the spicy hot side. I quite like it like that, so there you see the difference. Even after 46 years of marriage, you still have different tastes in food. He did mention not to cook that dish again.

The Easter holidays begin tomorrow and so the fridge and kitchen cupboards and brim full of food. Careful planning was necessary but after a conference, Mr. Swiss and I decided what would be on the menu. Nothing hot and spicy, just plain cooking, however I am cooking lamb racks on Sunday and I was wondering if just a little chilli – no let’s keep it plain and simple, although I do like my lamb with a good soaking of garlic. I find if everyone eats garlic, it is not such a problem, we all smell the same.

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: You Sexy Thing

Tell us all about your best confidence outfit. Don’t leave out the shoes or the perfect accessories.

TMC Wholesale

This afternoon I was let out to attend my Tai Chi practice. As I go by car, I usually go as I do my Tai Chi with my sexy black trousers and sexy t-shirt. I was wearing my Spring jacket and a pair of nice flat comfortable shoes to match. My hair was neat and tidy, with a few centimetres length it does not really get windblown.

“How do I look” I asked Mr. Swiss, his opinion is always important.

“All right” he answered. I checked – was he looking at me? Of course, at least I think so.

The last time I was dressed to kill was a little more than a year ago, my step daughter got married and we were invited to the wedding reception. It was actually a casual thing, men were not required to wear a tie, but men always have it easy. A decent shirt and trousers and jacket and they are dressed and if casual, even better. No fancy stuff, but it does not take a lot of energy to dress decent: we women have problems, at least I do.

Oh, horror, I really had nothing to wear. I live in the country and my only excursions were to go hunting for food supplies for the family in the local supermarket. Dressing for the supermarket was quite easy, jeans, t-shirt and a jacket according to the temperatures. No big deal really, and new clothes were bought when the others shrunk or the figure expanded, which was more the second case.

My step daughter is in the boutique business, so a distraught step mother phoned and asked what the chances were of buying something to kill wear. No problem, and I was promptly invited to a day out in distant Zürich to visit the wholesalers as she had to do some shopping for her boutique. I arrived safely, dressed in my normal going out dress of jeans and my nicest blouse. The jeans were this time black (my dress colour). My stepdaughter has good taste and knew what would be ideal for mummy Pat. Unfortunately sizes were not mummy Pat sizes, but we were successful and one pair of modern trousers actually existed in my size. The rest seemed to be made for people with model sizes on the cat walk, you know tall, bony and flat. I am tall, and everything else exists only in my dreams. We did find a nice black jacket in the outlet shop my step had, one of those places with things that do not sell well because of strange sizes.

The photo shows one of these shops where there was no danger incurred of trying things twenty times until you might find something that fits. It was specialised in fashion jewellery and handbags. Actually I was not hunting for a handbag, but step daughter found a bag that would be super, take it. It was a very modern blue colour and I must admit it was very nice. Not really something for a wedding reception, but step daughter said “you must have it” and so I did. This was a year ago but I am still gathering compliments when I use it. It was a shoulder bag similar to the blue bag at the front of the picture on the right hand side.

Eventually I bought a matching blouse at a shop in our local town, specialised in oversize sizes. It was ideal and probably made with elefant woman in mind. I was ready for the occasion, and breathed a sigh of relief. I could show myself again in public. Mr. Swiss was also dressed nicely, but somehow he did not seem to have so many problems putting his wardrobe together. Are men better organised, or is it just a woman thing. I even squeezed my feet into higher heels and as I was mainly sitting and not walking so much, there was ot problem with moving.

My best confidence outfit is something in the line of athletic shoes, Adidas, Puma, Nike, I do not care about the name, they just have to be comfortable. This usually combined with jeans and a t-shirt and I am ready to show myself in public. I notice with the years that not only the clothes sizes increase, but also feet sizes. I used to be able to squeeze my dainty fairy feet into a size 40 (European sizes), but I can be lucky today if size 43 fits. Are they making shoes smaller, or are my feet stretching? I do chance a fashionable shoe now and again (flat), but have discovered that I now have to insert a support inside at the heel to make my feet look less flatter than they actually are. Of course high heels are now out, with my 1m 75 it is not recommended. Thank goodness my sons are taller than I am. With luck I will shrink in my old age, most people do.

All this talk about confidence outfit is silly in any case. I am brimming over with confidence and do not need an outfit to compensate. My voice and my aura prove it. I suppose I do stand out in the crowd (with my adidas and t-shirt). Of course I also have a home dress, I am sure most of us do. Something nice and loose, comfortable and in summer I even wear shorts (but only at home). My outside dress more in the Capri trouser line of things (if I find my size).

Just a small word to the improvements made on our daily prompt blogging page. Yes, we now have a page showing the daily prompts as they arrive for those that has not yet found it. Things are looking up. One of my annoying complaints was answered and it seems pingbacks have now been enabled for weekly challenge and photo challenge. I am sure daily post is on the list for the next correction. Things can only get better.

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Monday, 14 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Third rate Romance

Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.

It's lunch time said the spider

This was a relationship disaster story but who is to blame? “Come into my web, said the spider to the fly” and the fly did what it was told and eventually was eaten by the fly. I have never eaten my third rate romances, and to be honest my method was just do not turn up for the next date. No-one hurt and embarrassment saved all around, although there is a little story……..

It was many moons ago, I was twenty-one years old (I think) and spending my first year in Switzerland. I did not know many people in Zürich, but had contact with other English girls in the Basel area. The Easter holiday was approaching and we had a brilliant idea on the Thursday before Good Friday “let’s spend Easter in Venice”. I was game for anything at that age, no problem, so we arrange to meet at Basel Station to board the night train to Venice. We had not booked a hotel, not booked anything, although two of the English friends did have male contact in Venice, nothing serious, but at least something.

We pulled in at Milan station in the early hours of the morning to change trains. We were hungry, wanted to visit a place for our recycling processes and was glad for a break in the journey: an interesting experience Milan station toilets. There are two entrances one for men and one for women, that both meet in the same place: however, ladies to the left and men to the right, so we were separated. Eventually we boarded our train to Venice sharing the compartment meant for eight people, with ten others. Yes, it was crowded, but was very helpful for developing the Italian language.

We eventually arrived in Venice, boarded a water bus and met a young man who knew exactly the best pension to stay at. I must admit he was good, an excellent hotel, clean, not too expensive and of course he earned his percentage of the deal. So there we were four young ladies in Venice and ready to go.

Two of my colleagues decided to search for their acquaintances and I departed with another girl to see the sights (mostly of the male sort). We eventually met two young gentlemen (I think they were Austrian) and we embarked on a water bus to the Lido. We spent a couple of hours with them and made an appointment to meet in the afternoon at three at the local water bus station. On the previous evening we had met two young Italian sailors, with uniform and everything. They invited us to the evening meal in a lovely Italian restaurant. Genuine Italian food, somewhere near the fish market They showed us the sights and unknown to myself (or was it me – life can get so confusing) a further appointment was made at the local water bus station (at three). In the meanwhile our other two friends arrived at our hotel and told us that they had met their friends who actually lived in Venice and were invited, all of us for the afternoon, meeting them at the local (you know it – at three in the afternoon).

I hope you are with me, it was very confusing, even for us. We departed from the hotel, all four of us for the local water bus station and met the friends of the friends who live in Venice, so we were now 4 young English girls, dressed to kill, accompanied by some young Italian Romeos. On the way we had docked in at a bar to encourage the atmosphere. The young men living in Venice were very nice. As I was the only one who actually spoke the lingo, I noticed a few darts of jealousy shooting from the eyes of the two friends that knew the locals.

So we arrived at the local water bus station. Yes, there were also two Austrians waiting, two Italian sailors and we four English girls arrived, accompanied by the Venetian friends of our friends. Luckily our stood-up colleagues from the Italian navy and Austria were not armed with knives and did not attack us, although I believe there were some negative insults issued. Who cares, we were young and carefree and as long as we were not paying.

We spent the afternoon (and evening) with the Venetian friends. One thing I noticed. When you enter an apartment block in Venice the entrance is full of rubbish, an unused rusty fountain and generally everything looking like a ruin. When you enter the apartment itself (and mama and papa were also there), it is a palace. Hightly polished wooden floors, clean windows and a laid table with all the Italian heart’s desires, as well as a few bottles of vino to help with the thirst.

And now for something completely different. I am still at war with the WordPress experts and their new great system that no-one seems to understand, except for the few chosen ones whose words of praise get through the comment filter. I now have a queue with two comments waiting for consideration. If I am not here tomorrow and just a blood stained empty page shows for the daily prompt – you know why. 

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Can't Get It Out Of My Head

Have you ever become obsessed with something? Tell us about something that captivates your attention like nothing else.


At the moment I am a little obsessed with my new fantastic tulips that I planted some time in autumn. I decided, being a golden oldie, it is time to cut back the back-breaking pains and aches of replanting a garden show annually. Perennials are the new theme for my garden. You plant them once and they appear regularly every year with no problems. No more digging on your knees, no more preparing flower beds, just a single planting session and nature takes care of the rest. To ensure that my flower show would be worthy of a position in the world’s Switzerland’s best, I chose a tulip that would emblazon a trail in the memory, leave a marker in the landscape – at least in my landscape.

I planted two sorts, in harmonizing colours and very tall: this is the tallest type in the photo, the smaller, but also big, are not yet ready to blossom in their full glory, but are well on their way.

Of course I am also captivated with Mr. Swiss who attracts my attention like nothing else, but as that goes without saying I will not bore you all with the facts. Let it be sufficient that we have put up with each other for the past 46 years and probably will continue to do so (unless, of course, Brad Pitt might ….. – no forget it).

So, being a person full of obsessions, I am not yet finished of course. I could tell you all how I am currently obsessed with the “great new look of the daily post”, but as my comment No. 3, which I posted yesterday, is still waiting for moderation, perhaps I have overstayed my welcome. I just happened to mention that I am still waiting for the great new form of posting Pingbacks and made a threat comment that I might give up with the daily prompt. This does not seem to have had an impact on the WordPress team. They are not shaking in their shoes or tearing their hair out in frustration, knowing that Mrs. Angloswiss might leave the group forever, so I am slowly giving up. I no longer receive my daily e-mail with the latest subject of the prompt. If you cannot beat them, join them, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to join when you cannot find them in this “great new look of the daily post”. Something has come to my obsessed brain’s attention. There are an average of 50-60 submissions on the daily prompt since the new design, there used to be at least 80-90, or am I wrong? Many familiar names are no longer there, but….. the Russians are still appearing regularly. Perhaps they might take over eventually – I will have to start learning the language again.

There is a danger that even Vladimir Putin might want to infiltrate Europe. There was an interesting article in the local Swiss Sunday Newspaper today (Solothurner Zeitung). There used to be a law in Switzerland, many moons ago, that every household should have emergency rations in case of a war, famine or other such catastrophes. Over the years this law was either forgotten or deemed unnecessary. I do not know, it was before my time in this land of banks, cheese and cows. Anyhow a politician, a military man (of course) said this should be re-inactivated. It seems with the threats from other countries, we might be under siege. So Swiss citizens are now emptying the shelves in the local supermarket. Supplies of oil, lentils, chocolate, coffee, tea and basic essentials for survival are being bought, although I am not really a fan of lentils. There are also ready boxes of immediate Swiss Cheese fondue that can be bought, which would be more patriotic and more to my taste.

Yes we Swiss are ready, when Mr. Putin andVote his army arrives at the Swiss borders we will beat them, being a country of strapping William Tell lookalikes armed with our crossbows and Swiss Fondue protecting the borders. We do have a Swiss army, but the regulars only serve three weeks per year until they have fulfilled their quota, so it will depend who is serving. Room at the barracks might be limited. At least we will have no problem with attack by sea. We have no sea, no ocean, just a few lakes and they are reserved for our tourists. I am not sure about the Swiss Navy, I think we have one ship sailing around the ocean, probably registered in Liberia.

Of course the Swiss Airforce is not to be ignored, although at the moment we have just bought a few new planes from the Swedish which are still being tried out. I am not sure how far this project is, but there was a flight of one or two being watched by a crowd of Swiss armed with their cameras. Otherwise this model, known as Gripen, Swedish,  is still mainly on the drawing board. I found this link on Internet Vote For Your New Airforce Plane and it seems the democratic Swiss will be voting on this issue on 18th May. We had better hurry up, Mr. Putin is ready to pick up his fortune on his Swiss numbered bank account.

On these wise words I will now leave you to ponder about my tulips, the great new look of the daily post and the Swiss Vote on 18th May for their new aircraft (not forgetting Mr. Swiss who is now on a comfortable chair in the sun, with his iPoddy thing in the ears listening to the latest jazz and reading his iPad – we are very “I” everything at home). My iCat is just preparing for an afternoon sleep on the chair opposite.

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: When Will I Be Loved?

Have you dreamt of becoming famous? What would your claim to fame be? Comedy? Acting? Writing? Race car driving? Go!

Dandelion Head

Which romantic souls remember the game with the dandelion seed head: pulling out the little stalks “She/He loves me, She/He loves me not” etc. When I was a kid I would do it, but today I just try a macro photo, times change.

Times change so much, that I am seriously thinking about this daily prompt thing. Not only have WordPress changed everything, but slowly I wonder if I no longer love them as much as I did. I can no longer do my Pingbacks, to show everyone how much I appreciate their contributions to the daily prompt due to the new fantastic, spectacular changes.WordPress tell me that they are working on it, and so am I, but without any success up to now. We have now gone deep Orange, in case you have not noticed it. Not that I mind a change of colour, it is a trade mark. The only problem being that everything else should function as normal.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from WordPress inviting me to join The Commons for Blogging 101: Zero to Hero where you have “a private space where you can seek feedback, share ideas, and have conversations with another out of the public eye”. This is apparently a very private place. Very enticing and so I made my way to join. Perhaps I might meet Brad Pitt privately in that secret place. If WordPress calls you, you go, but there is a little problem – for me. I have to do the two step authentication thing, so I made my way and found I must upload the Google Authenticator on the App Store on my iPhone. No problem, but what is this thing, and do I really want or need it? It is added protection from the evil Trojans and spies in the Internet World, the ones that steal your password and carry out threats leading to death and destruction of your most private intenet secrets. Do I want this app, do I need this app? I am still thinking about it, but up to now have not reached a decision. Do I want to join this Commons for Blogging 101 etc. etc.? Up to now I have survived without this, so I think I will continue to survive for the time being.

At the same time I am being bombarded with reminders from the renewal service that my WordPress domain subscription will be up for renewal shortly. This is not cheap, but being a golden oldie with not many pleasures in life, I am OK with this. The price to pay for a .com.; It is not cheap but the things I do for a www address on my gravestone.

So there we have it. Life can become complicated when you pin all your hopes on a Web Site to climb the steps to fame in the world of literature, and even photography. You have to give a lot a little to arrive where you want to go. I do not dream of becoming famous, I am famous, at least in my own four walls. My felines find me famous for regularly emptying their litter tray. Mr. Swiss has put me on a pedestal for my five star menus and that I have not poisoned him after 46 years of marriage. I am famous for my knowledge of the English language in the area where I live, which is not surprising as I live amongst the Swiss German speaking population. I am also famous for speaking Swiss German with a strange accent and making grammatical mistakes when talking. The main thing is that I am understood.

So please bear with me when my daily prompt works do not 100% meet with the demands of the WordPress powers. I like to have fun, but with a bombardment from a Google app and a newly designed web presentation, the fun side of things is gradually fading in the world of WordPress innovation. Of course, this is all in the name of “staying on top”. I should not complain. Facebook has gone through so many changes since I belong, that I no longer have enough fingers to count them.

I think I dedicate this daily prompt to WordPress. They are becoming famous for changing my quiet life and transforming it into excitement, chaos and bringing a new surprise every day. Yesterday I found the daily prompt with no problem. Today I had to search, steer through a strange page displaying prompts from last year until I found where I should have been in the first place (all in dark orange of course).

And now I will lay my computer to rest, my garden is calling with some weeds. Tomorrow I will be back, same place, same time – if I find my way in the new and sensational WordPress jungle. I have a feeling that I am not love so much by the WordPress Gurus at the moment. They even refused to approve one of my comments on their notification “The Daily Post has a great new look”, but I submitted a second comment, perhaps somewhat milder than the first and it got through. 

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